Monthly Archives: November 2008

I’ll Make Tamales Next Time

A few weeks ago, the kids and I went to Blandford Nature Center’s Harvest Festival.  One of the demonstrations showed how corn is harvested, dried, shucked, then the kernels are cracked and made into feed or further ground into flour.

Knowing a good kids craft opportunity when I see one (ha!), I asked the corn guy if I could take home some of the husks laying around on the ground.  He looked at me a little weird, then said, “sure…”.

The pumpkin we carved at the Kentwood Library’s ‘Family Carving Event’ last Saturday had already been half eaten by ravenous squirrels, so I decided it was time to bust out the husks on Sunday and set out to make corn husk dolls with the kids.

This was one of my worst ideas ever.  I used the directions from Family Fun magazine.  My kids don’t know how to tie knots, braid, or roll corn husks so they were bored with the process and started hacking the yarn into little pieces instead.  Naturally, I yelled at them gently brought their attention back to our project.  Eventually I just let them go and play with something else, then come back at the end to make hairstyle and fashion choices for their dolls. 

My husband was thoroughly impressed, somehow having never seen a corn husk doll in his life.  They did turn out kind of cute, but I use the corn husks for what I’m good at next time – cooking.

For more Hobby Hump Day, visit 3inunder3.

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Menu Plan Monday

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Things are picking up at work, and I really need to make good use of my time at home.  I have set a goal of having a crock pot meal every night of the week.  There is a wonderful site called “A Year Of Crockpotting” that I got the recipes from. Sadly, the blogger is allergic to pork.  We don’t go many weeks without “our friend the pig” as my kids say so I found a recipe on About Southern Food for our weekly pork fix.

The Angel Food items we had last week were all pretty good.  It is definitely making my life easier right now as I don’t have much time to shop the bargains like I used to.

MONDAY

Easy Pork Chops.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about – a recipe that involves cream of somethin’ soup.  Sorry family; easy is the new gourmet.  We’ll also have fresh cut veggies and dip, and serve the pork with noodles.

TUESDAY

Crock Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole.  I will also cook some frozen broccoli.

WEDNESDAY

Crock Pot Sweet and Spicy Salmon.  Fish?? In a crock pot? Worth a shot.  I’ll also have some green beans.

THURSDAY

Crock Pot Baked Ziti.  I will also cook some frozen carrots to serve with it.  My last venture with pasta in the crock pot was a disaster, but I remain hopeful.

FRIDAY

Crock Pot Layered Dinner – Steak, Potatoes and Corn on the Cob.  Fascinating.  Just throw it all in and cook.  I’ll just add some home made applesauce and it’s done!

For more menu plans, head over to Laura’s blog.

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Big Person Book Club

We spent all summer tracking our many, many books we read with our kids.  There are so many summer book clubs for kids it is well worth it.  But now it’s our turn, grown ups.

The Grand Rapids Public Library’s  “Spilled Ink” reading club for adults is up and running.  Sign up at your local branch, and then read 10 books between now and February 28.  Details are available at your branch.  I still don’t know what the prize is – if anyone finds out please come back and post a comment!

Kent District Library’s  grown up program usually starts in December; I’ll bring you the scoop as soon as I get it.

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Family Time

OK, I’ve done it.  Not being the biggest Halloween fan, I have successfully forced myself into festive-mode this year.  I even went so far as to wear a horrible turtleneck with pumpkins on it to A.P.’s school party.  I put it on immediately before entering the school, and removed it in the parking lot – but still.  So now it’s over, and so is fall apparently.  We have one more Autumn/Harvest activity you’ll read about later this week, then we’ll move on to something else.

Here is a lesson that fit really well with our current theme.  The program it came from is really neat I want to do a post about it.  Plus, I told some of my Great Start buddies Brenna and Rachel that I would so now I have to. Nothing like accountability to keep you blogging along.

Last month, I went to (and blogged about) the Hearts At Home Conference.  One of the speakers was Kirk Weaver.  He is from an organization called Family Time and did a presentation called, “Deepening Your Child’s Faith”.  Now before I lose some people, I’ll repeat something he said.  Although this is developed around Christian principles, they can all be converted into non-religious character building lessons for children.

The idea is that parents, not church or school, hold the primary responsibility for building their children’s faith and character.  We need to do more than send them off to Sunday school, no matter how fantastic it might be.  They need to hear these principles taught at home.  Family Time offers a format and specific lessons to help you.

Mr. Weaver said that we have 10,000 minutes in a week.  20 of them should be used to help our kids grow spiritually. That’s the plan; once a week for 20 minutes.  It should not be called “BIBLE LESSONS” or “CHARACTER BUILDING” or anything like that.  Call it “Family Time” and kids won’t even know they’re learning; they will be as excited as they are during a rousing family game of Candy Land.

The lessons outline for you:

  • A teaching goal
  • Scripture (as a note, I use the Message Bible with modern language because it’s easier for kids to comprehend – now is not the time to worry about the original Greek word for this or that)
  • A list of materials needed
  • Music, if appropriate
  • Lesson outline

You can buy books with lessons for different age groups.  You can also buy an online subscription. Or, you can get free lessons from the website.  We did the “Slow Down And Look Around” lesson last week.  You can click on the link for details; basically the kids find a leaf, then draw it.  Then they have to do back, and look at the details.

Neither my husband nor I grew up in a family that did these kinds of activities so it was kind of uncomfortable for us.  The kids loved it though, and we are going to stick with the plan and do it once a week, knowing that our confidence will grow with time.  Also, it’s super easy and pretty effortless for planning so that helps.  After all, if I can wear a pumpkin-print turtleneck to a school party – I can do anything, right?

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